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  • Author: Stephen L. Magiera
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Foreign investors can lodge a complaint against a host country for alleged treaty violations under the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions of bilateral investment treaties (BITs). The complaints are arbitrated internationally outside the host country's domestic court, sometimes involve claims exceeding US$1 billion, and give rise to significant financial risk of international arbitration for host countries. Because of this, Indonesia has recently cancelled many of its BITs. But at the same time, Indonesia has agreed to ISDS under the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA) and ASEAN's five agreements with Dialogue Partners. Furthermore, President Joko Widodo has expressed strong interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which contains provisions for ISDS. ASEAN's Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will also provide for ISDS. This note reviews the status of Indonesia's international obligations with respect to ISDS, evaluates some of the benefits and costs of ISDS, and reviews the extent to which Indonesia would be undertaking new ISDS obligations under TPP. The note concludes with a discussion of ways that Indonesia can reduce the risk of international arbitration through domestic regulatory reforms.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: William Chislett
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: Although some Spaniards joke that the country has got along fine with a caretaker government for 315 days, this year has been a lost one. There are some pressing issues that need to be tackled now that there is finally a functioning government. But the new Popular Party (PP) government no longer has an absolute majority. As a minority administration it will have to negotiate its laws and reforms in a deeply fragmented parliament, the result of the upending of the PP and the Socialist Party (PSOE) by two new parties, the far left Unidos Podemos (UP) and the centrist Ciudadanos (C’s). The government has a lot on its plate, including the following: (a) belatedly approving the budget for 2017 and meeting the EU’s threshold for the deficit (3% of GDP) in 2018 (a target imposed by Brussels that the PP persistently missed); (b) deciding what to do about the push for independence in Catalonia (the region’s government says it will hold a referendum on the issue in September 2017 regardless of whether the central government approves it or not); (c) cleaning up corruption in the political class; (d) making the judiciary more independent; (e) possibly deepening the labour market reforms in a bid to reduce the still very high unemployment rate (18.9%); (f) reforming an education system whose early school-leaving rate of 20% is close to double the EU average; (g) bolstering the ailing pension system hit by a sharp fall in the number of social security contributors and a rapidly ageing population; and (h) making its voice heard more in the post-Brexit debate.
  • Topic: International Relations, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Spain, European Union
  • Author: Zsolt Darvas, Dirk Schoenmaker
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Integrated capital markets facilitate risk sharing across countries. Lower home bias in financial investments is an indicator of risk sharing. We highlight that existing indicators of equity home bias in the literature suffer from incomplete coverage because they consider only listed equities. We also consider unlisted equites and show that equity home bias is much higher than previous studies perceived. We also analyse home bias in debt securities holdings, and euro-area bias. We conclude that European Union membership may foster financial integration and reduce information barriers, which sometimes limit cross-country diversification. We calculate home bias indicators for the aggregate of the euro area as if the euro area was a single country and report remarkable similarity between the euro area and the United States in terms of equity home bias, while there is a higher level of debt home bias in the United States than in the euro area as a whole. We develop a new pension fund foreign investment restrictions index to control for the impact of prudential regulations on the ability of institutional investors to diversify geographically across borders. Our panel regression estimates for 25 advanced and emerging countries in 2001-14 provide strong support for the hypothesis that the larger the assets managed by institutional investors (defined as pension funds, insurance companies and investment funds), the smaller the home bias and thereby the greater the scope for risk sharing.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Economic structure, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Yakov Ben-Haim, Maria Demertzis, Jan Willem Van Den End
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: This paper applies the info-gap approach to the unconventional monetary policy of the Eurosystem and so takes into account the fundamental uncertainty on inflation shocks and the transmission mechanism. The outcomes show that a more demanding monetary strategy, in terms of lower tolerance for output and inflation gaps, entails less robustness against uncertainty, particularly if financial variables are taken into account. Augmenting the Taylor rule with a financial variable leads to a smaller loss of robustness than taking into account the effect of financial imbalances on the economy. However, in some situations, the augmented model is more robust than the baseline model. A conclusion from our framework is that including financial imbalances in the monetary policy objective does not necessarily increase policy robustness, and may even decrease it
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Georgios Petropoulos
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: This Policy Contribution tackles the definition and benefits of collaborative economy, as well as the distinction between professional and non-professional services, recommendations on safety and transparency for users, and the way to approach regulatory concerns.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Middle at ha een engulfed in chao. Longtanding authoritarian regime have een toppled; till other dictator have killed hundred of thouand and diplaced million in an effort to retain power. Iran’ hiite prox militia have pread throughout the region, fueling ectarianim and roadening the appeal of nihilitic unni Ilamit jihadit group. Meanwhile, audi Araia and gpt—two longtanding pillar of Wahington’ trategic architecture in the Middle at—have een haken  economic troule.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Jordan
  • Author: Henry D. Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: With 190 state members, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) is almost universal. However, it has fallen on hard times. North Korea violated it and withdrew in 2002. Israel, Pakistan, India, and North Korea—the nuclear-armed states most likely to use them—refuse to sign. Others—e.g., Syria, South Korea, and Egypt—have violated its safeguards and yet suffered no serious consequences. Also, with the Iran deal, enriching uranium or re- processing spent reactor fuel, which can bring states to the very brink of bomb making, is now less taboo. Finally, with President Trump’s suggestion that South Korea’s and Japan’s acquisition of nuclear weapons is inevitable, the prospect of the treaty lasting in perpetuity is easily open to question.1
  • Topic: International Organization, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Louise Schaik Van, Louise Van Schaik
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This policy brief synthesises the findings of political economy analyses (PEA) in the energy sector in three fossil-endowed middle-income countries (MICs): Colombia, Indonesia and Kenya. It is based on a research project on political economy constraints and enablers influencing governments’ decisions on green growth options in the energy sector, where policy directions for a robust green growth trajectory are explored.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Indonesia, Colombia
  • Author: Masahito Ambashi
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This policy brief presents an overview of the ASEAN economy in terms of its economic relationship with multinationals, particularly Japanese companies, that have long invested in this region. ASEAN has been an attractor of foreign direct investment (FDI). Business interest in ASEAN has increased again recently due to the (i) relatively low wage of ASEAN compared to China, (ii) establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), (iii) economic partnership network with a core of ASEAN countries, (iv) large-scale market covered by ASEAN, and (v) rise of CLMV countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Viet Nam). In these trends, ASEAN has established a reciprocal economic relationship with other countries and regions. To develop its economy, ASEAN member states are expected to further advance the AEC at a high level. Hence, ASEAN must address challenges such as deepening further economic integration and narrowing development gaps in the region. Most importantly, ASEAN still needs to increase the attractiveness of its 'whole region' as an essential and integral part of global value chains to draw further FDI.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Japan, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Mark Hallerberg, Christopher Gandrud
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Japan serves as a cautionary tale for Italy on how to clean up banking-sector problems. A general lesson is the need for policies to forthrightly address non-performing loans (NPLs) in countries with widespread banking problems. This helps address zombie banks and sluggish economic growth. The Japanese experience indicates that three elements are necessary to address NPLs: (a) sufficiently capitalised banks that can take losses from NPL write-downs; (b) an independent regulator that can identify problems and force action; and (c) tools to manage the orderly disposal of NPLs. The problem is not that this combination of policy tools is unknown, but that banks and governments lack incentives to use them in combination. Italy’s December 2016 package providing €20 billion for recapitalisation of banks is a step in the right direction. Similarly, pressure from the European Central Bank on Italian authori- ties and on banks to address NPLs is welcome. However, policy tools to manage and dispose of NPLs and, just as importantly, incentives to use them, are lacking. In January 2017, the European Banking Authority published a set of policy proposals for NPL resolution. Those include national and European-level public asset management companies (AMC), also known as ‘bad banks’. We argue that in Italy, the incentives to use such tools and dispose of NPLs have been weak.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Economic structure, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Japan, Italy
  • Author: Uuriintuya Batsaikhan, Robert Kalcik, Dirk Schoenmaker
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: London is an international financial centre, serving European and global clients. A hard Brexit would lead to a partial migration of financial firms from London to the EU27 (EU minus UK) to ensure they can continue to serve their EU27 clients. Four major cities will host most of the new EU27 wholesale markets: Frankfurt, Paris, Dublin and Amsterdam. These cities have far fewer people employed in finance than London. Moreover, they host the European headquarters of fewer large companies. The partial migra- tion of financial firms will thus have a major impact on these cities and their infrastructures. Banks are the key players in wholesale markets. United States and Swiss investment banks, together with one large German and three large French banks, will make up the core of the new EU27 wholesale markets. Some Dutch, Italian and Spanish banks are in the second tier. The forex, securities and derivatives trading markets are now in London. We map the current, limited market share of the four major cities that might host the EU27 client business. The expected migration of financial trading will lead to a large increase in trading capacity (eg bank trading floors). Clearing is the backbone of modern financial markets. A comparative overview of clearing facilities in the EU27 shows that Germany and France have some clearing capacity, but this will need to be expanded. The ownership of clearing is often intertwined with stock exchanges. Were the planned LSE-Deutsche Börse merger to go ahead, LSE would sell the Paris subsidiary of its clearinghouse. In terms of legal systems, there is an expectation that trading activities will be able to continue under English contract law, also in the EU27. A particular challenge is to develop FinTech (financial technology) in the EU27, as this innovative part of the market is currently based in London. We estimate that some 30,000 jobs might move from London to the EU27. This will put pressure on the facilities (infrastructure, offices, residential housing) in the recipient cities. The more the European Union market for financial services is integrated, the less need there will be for financial firms to move to one location, reducing the pressure for all facilities to be in one city (see Sapir et al, 2017, which is a companion piece to this paper).
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe
  • Author: Maria Demertzis, André Sapir, Guntram Wolff
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The United States is the European Union’s most important trade and bilateral investment partner, which has, until now, supported a multilateral trade system and European integration and has provided a security guarantee to the countries of the EU. But like other advanced economies, the US’s relative weight in the global economy has declined. The new US administration seems intent on replacing multilateralism with bilateral deals. In trade, it aims to secure new trade deals in order to reduce bilateral trade deficits and to protect, in particular, the US manufacturing sector. In climate policy, the US commitment to the Paris Agreement is being questioned. In defence, the security umbrella appears less certain than previously. The overall promise behind this change of direction is to put ‘America first’ and deliver better results for US citizens.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Multilateral Relatons, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Andre Sapir, Dirk Schoenmaker, Nicolas Veron
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union creates an opportunity for the remaining EU27 to accelerate the development of its financial markets and to increase its resilience against shocks. Equally, Brexit involves risks for market integrity and stability, because the EU including the UK has been crucially dependent on the Bank of England and the UK Financial Conduct Authority for oversight of its wholesale markets. Without the UK, the EU27 must swiftly upgrade its capacity to ensure market integrity and financial stability. Furthermore, losing even partial access to the efficient London financial centre could entail a loss of efficiency for the EU27 economy, especially if financial developments inside the EU27 remain limited and uneven.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Political stability, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe
  • Author: Robert Kalcik, Guntram Wolff
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Brexit offers a political opportunity for the European Parliament to reform the allocation of seats to member states. This Policy Contribution explores different options for reform and their implications for equality of representation and distribution of seats to countries, within the constraints set by the EU treaties.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Affairs, Political Theory, European Union, Democracy, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Zsolt Darvus
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The ‘poverty’ target set by the European Commission aims to lift “over 20 million people out of poverty” between 2008 and 2020 in the EU27. Progress to date against this target has been disappointing. Why is it so hard to reach the Europe 2020 ‘poverty’ target? What does the poverty indicator actually measure?
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mikkel Runge Olesen, Matthew Hinds
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The election of Donald Trump as US president was met with considerable unease in Europe. This has not least been the case among those who, like the UK and Denmark, consider themselves among America’s closest allies. In the policy brief, Matthew Hinds and Mikkel Runge Olesen take stock of the US special relationships in Europe – large and small. In the policy brief they discuss both the classical “Special Relationship” between the US and the UK, as well as the US-Danish relationship, as an example of a small power that has chosen to give the relationship to the superpower premium priority. Hinds and Runge Olesen find that Trump may destabilize relations, but also that he may open up for new opportunities as well – especially for the UK.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Britain, America, Europe
  • Author: Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde, Peter Albrecht, Rikke Haugegaard
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Peacekeepers in the UN stabilization mission in Mali (MINUSMA) operate under very difficult conditions, especially in the outskirts of the mission. The recent jihadist attack on a military base in Gao in northern Mali, killing 60 and wounding more than 100, is the latest example of how dangerous working in this part of the country is. This policy brief, based on fieldwork in Mali, analyses the challenges to the mission of supplying fuel, food and water to these areas. In doing so, it describes the inequality that exists between African and non-African soldiers.
  • Topic: United Nations, International Security, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Mali
  • Author: Peter Albrecht, Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde, Rikke Haugegaard
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: n 2014, the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) established an intelligence capability that is unprecedented for how peacekeeping operations are organized. An All Sources Information Fusion Unit (ASIFU) was set up to assist MINUSMA in countering asymmetric threats faced by mission personnel and the local population. This policy brief focuses on how inadequate collaboration and lack of trust between European and African forces in the mission impede sharing of intelligence. Insight is provided on why and how the intelligence capability could benefit from the cultural knowledge and language skills of African troops. The policy brief is one of the outputs of a project that has explored the plight of African peacekeepers in MINUSMA. The project is a collaborative effort between DIIS and the Royal Danish Defence College. It is funded by the Danish Ministry of Defence.
  • Topic: United Nations, International Affairs, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Mali
  • Author: Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde, Thomas Mandrup
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite that South Africa deploys the highest numbers of female soldiers in the United Nations Organisation Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), significant challenges to changing a military culture that tacitly accepts sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) of local populations in the DRC remain. A new DIIS policy brief discusses the measures taken to adress SEA in MONUSCO. In the South African contigent in MONUSCO, 18% of the military personnel are women compared to the average of 3.8% for UN peacekeeping missions. The brief argues that strengthening in-mission gender training and investigtative capacities will be small, yet realistic, steps forward. Furthermore, the UN the should put more pressure on troop contributing countries to hold their defence leadership accountable for effective command and control enforcement. The policy brief is based on a collaborative research between DIIS and the Royal Danish Defence College, RDDC.
  • Topic: United Nations, International Affairs, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Andrew J. Tabler
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In this new Transition 2017 paper, Institute expert Andrew J. Tabler argues that Syria remains de facto partitioned, making the establishment of safe zones in non-Assad-controlled areas the Trump administration's most expedient course of action. Moreover, it would further Washington's cause to drive a wedge into the country's Russia-Iran alliance, and both isolate and pressure the Assad regime. If Washington's objectives in Syria are to defeat U.S.-designated terrorist groups and stem the outflow of refugees, President Bashar al-Assad is under no circumstances the right person to entrust with these missions. Simply in practical terms, he lacks the manpower to retake and hold the two-thirds of Syrian territory outside his control any time soon, despite having sufficient support from Russia and Iran to maintain control in large parts of the country. But more important, Assad is an avowed adversary of the West, undeserving of its cooperation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil War, International Security, International Affairs, Neoimperialism
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Iran, Syria
  • Author: Lori Plotkin Boghardt, Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Trump administration has an opportunity to reset, tighten, and maximize America's strategic relations with the Gulf states. For the United States, expanded security cooperation and coordination could be a force multiplier in campaigns to achieve key policy goals, such as countering Iran's destabilizing policies and defeating the Islamic State. Gulf leaders have expressed optimism over the new administration's gestures, despite its "America First" rhetoric. But the administration also faces challenges, including those brought about by its own emphasis on "radical Islamic terrorism." This two-part Transition 2017 paper, featuring contributions by Gulf experts Lori Plotkin Boghardt and Simon Henderson, navigates the complex U.S.-Gulf relationship. The first essay provides an overview of its basic tenets, stressing the importance of rapport to bilateral ties and discussing key policy priorities. The second essay narrows the focus to the Washington-Riyadh link, the most important U.S. tie with the conservative Gulf. It analyzes differences in viewpoint, policy options, and some anticipated Saudi responses on the core issues of oil, terrorism, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Gulf allies, and the Sunni bloc.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Irene Costantini
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The Shia Block is realistically the key determinant for national reconciliation to occur in Iraq. However, its internal divisions make it a problematic and non-unitary interlocutor for national, regional, and international initiatives. So far, the Block has outlined two separate and independent plans: al-Hakim’s “Historical Settlement” and al-Sadr’s roadmap
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Tomáš Kaválek
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: On 3 March, clashes erupted between the PKK-linked forces and the KDP’s Rojava Peshmerga near Khanasor in the district of Shingal. These events now more than ever highlight the need for a negotiated compromise between the KRG and the PKK; and for the international community to actively intervene.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Irene Costantini
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Iraq and Libya are facing similar challenges: addressing the hurdles of socio-economic recovery in areas liberated from the Islamic State (IS); facing a fiscal crisis in the midst of continuous political tensions; and striking a power balance between central and local authorities, serving the interests of the people.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, ISIS
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Athanasios Manis
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The Iraqi and Turkish leadership have restored direct contact, thus providing an opportunity for dialogue. However, the extent to which this can lead to a sustainable normalisation process and furthermore to a deepening of their relationship is highly questionable. This policy brief argues that the main problem lies with the fact that a win-win scenario of overlapping or complementary interests does not seem to be driving the leaderships’ actions. Instead, it is ad hoc developments external to their bilateral relationship that have a positive effect for the time being, such as the rapprochement between Russia and Turkey, and subsequently a concerted attempt between Russia, Turkey and Iran to stabilise the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group, discusses his company’s annual top political risks for 2017 and their ethical implications. Topics include the potential challenges from a Trump administration, the moral legacy of President Obama’s foreign policy, human rights in the Middle East, the fate of liberalism in Europe and the world, and the dangers of populism.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Human Rights, International Security, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The conflict in Syria, the war on ISIS, Israeli settlements, relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Iranian regional influence -- all contentious issues at the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda in the Middle East. During this January 30 policy forum, Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi -- a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- and former Israeli ambassador to the United States Itamar Rabinovich offer their perspectives on these challenges and others confronting President Trump in the region. Tzachi Hanegbi has just been named Israel's cabinet minister for regional cooperation. A close confidant of Prime Minister Netanyahu, he has held a variety of cabinet portfolios in the past, and served most recently as chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Itamar Rabinovich is a former Israeli ambassador to Washington and founding president of the Israel Institute. A renowned expert on Syria, he once headed Israeli peace talks with Damascus. He has also served as president of Tel Aviv University, where he is now a professor emeritus of Middle Eastern history. David Makovsky is the Institute's Ziegler Distinguished Fellow and Director of its Project on the Middle East Peace Process, and the Irwin Levy Family Program on the U.S.-Israel Strategic Relationship.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide for 165 independent states and two territories. This covers almost the entire population of the world and the vast majority of the world’s states (microstates are excluded). The Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Based on their scores on a range of indicators within these categories, each country is then itself classified as one of four types of regime: “full democracy”; “flawed democracy”; “hybrid regime”; and “authoritarian regime”. A full methodology and explanations can be found in the Appendix. This is the ninth edition of the Democracy Index. It records how global democracy fared in 2016. The title of this year’s report refers to the popular revolt in 2016 against political elites who are perceived by many to be out of touch and failing to represent the interests of ordinary people (“political elites” refers primarily to governments, legislatures, state institutions and political parties, though it also encompasses the media, expert bodies and international organisations)
  • Topic: International Affairs, Popular Revolt, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Luis Simón, Vivien Pertusot
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: Europe’s southern neighbourhood is a diverse but interlinked geopolitical ensemble, whose specificities need to be carefully assessed before Europeans devise dedicated security strategies, divide responsibilities and make policy decisions. This exercise in geopolitical scoping seeks to make sense of the main security challenges present in Europe’s broader European neighbourhood, a space encompassing areas as diverse as the Gulf of Guinea, the Sahel, North Africa, the Levant and the Persian Gulf. It identifies (some of) the main sub-regions that make up the ‘South’, offers an overview of the threat environment in each of them and identifies relevant differences as well as common themes. In doing so we aim to provide a conceptual referent for further policy research on the security of Europe’s ‘South’, and to help inform future strategic and policy discussions within the EU, NATO and their Member States.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: William Chislett
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: UN-brokered talks to finally reunify Cyprus after 43 years offered hope, but obstacles remained and any deal would have to be approved in referendums on both sides. Greek Cypriots rejected the settlement put forward by the United Nations in 2004. The reunification of Cyprus is one of the world’s longest running and intractable international problems. The latest talks in Geneva in January 2017 between Nicos Anastasiades, the Greek-Cypriot President, and Mustafa Akıncı, his Turkish-Cypriot counterpart, after 20 months of negotiations, made significant progress. The issues of territorial adjustments and security and guarantees are the most sensitive and core issues yet to be resolved and ones that will determine whether a solution can be reached and approved in referendums on both sides.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Greece, Cyprus
  • Author: Daniel Keohane
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: It is vital that France, Germany and the UK cooperate constructively on military matters after the British leave the EU. Supporters of EU defence policy have seized on the Brexit decision of the British people as an opportunity to strengthen that policy. In the past the UK had blocked some proposals, which France, Germany and others now wish to implement. But a more energised EU defence on paper will not quickly transform into a stronger policy in practice. More important for the security of Europeans is that France, Germany and the UK ensure that they cooperate constructively on military matters after the British leave the EU.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: European Union
  • Author: Karim Mezran
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: As the Trump administration assumes office, it faces a major challenge in Libya, where the country’s situation continues to deteriorate as an ongoing conflict worsens. The Libya Peace Agreement produced in 2015 by a UN-backed process, which established a Presidential Council and Government of National Accord (PC/GNA), is floundering. The PC/GNA has failed to garner credibility on the ground since landing in Tripoli almost a year ago and it has suffered from significant infighting.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: America, Libya
  • Author: Giuseppe Dentice
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The Egyptian military response through heavy air strikes on the cities of Darnah and Sirte – as a consequence of the kidnapping and beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts by a Libyan cell affiliated to the Islamic State (IS) in February 2015 – represents so far the peak of Egypt’s involvement in the Libyan affaire.
  • Topic: International Security, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Libya, Egypt
  • Author: Virginie Collombier
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: More than one year after the signing of the Libyan Political Accord (LPA) in Skhirat, implementation of the agreement is impeded by obstacles which now look insurmountable. Despite efforts by Western countries and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to empower the Presidential Council (PC) of the Government of National Accord (GNA), major constituencies have continued contesting its legitimacy and refusing its authority.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Libya, Global Focus
  • Author: Arturo Varvelli
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: During 2016 and in the first few weeks of 2017, it has become clear that General Khalifa Haftar is gaining support both locally and internationally. Egypt, the Emirates, Russia, and France, all played a role in strengthening his power.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Libya, Global Focus
  • Author: Wolfgang Pusztai
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: After the 1969 revolution, Libya’s previously close links to the United States quickly deteriorated. At the same time Muammar al-Gaddafi sought closer links to the Soviet Union. The clear majority of the equipment of the “Armed Forces of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya” originated from the Soviets or the Eastern Bloc. Many of the officers of all services were educated at military training facilities of the Soviet Armed Forces. After the break-up of the Soviet Union, Russia remained as one of Libya’s key allies.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Libya
  • Author: Nancy Porsia
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Fighting at Tripoli’s international airport was still under way when, in July 2014, the diplomatic missions of European countries, the United States and Canada were shut down. At that time Italy decided to maintain a pied-à-terre in place in order to preserve the precarious balance of its assets in the two-headed country, strengthening security at its local headquarters on Tripoli’s seafront. On the one hand there was no forsaking the Mellitah Oil & Gas compound, controlled by Eni and based west of Tripoli.
  • Topic: Migration, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sami Zaptia
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Six years on from its February 2011 revolution, Libya’s political scene is characterized by fragmentation and polarization. The constantly shifting political and military allegiances and contested legitimacy since 2014 have today resulted in three Libyan ‘‘governments’’ claiming legitimacy.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: There is no doubt that the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign is an orchestrated strategy, delivering the same disinformation stories in as many languages as possible, through as many channels as possible, and as often as possible.
  • Topic: International Security, Political Theory, Post Truth Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Tim Oliver, Michael Williams
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: LSE IDEAS
  • Abstract: Even before Donald Trump won the US presidential election he left an indelible mark on US politics and on views of the US in Britain and around the world. his victory means those views will now have to be turned into policy towards a president many in Britain feel uneasy about. Current attitudes to Trump can be as contradictory and fast changing as the president-elect’s own political positions. They can be a mix of selective praise and horror. he has in the past been criticised by British political leaders from the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to the Mayor of london Sadiq khan. In early 2016 a petition of over half a million signatures led Parliament to debate (and reject) banning Trump from entering the Uk. Yet he has also drawn the support of politicians such as UKIP leader Nigel Farage, and polling showed support amongst the British public for his 2015 proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US. After the presidential election British ministers were quick to extend an olive branch. Johnson himself refused to attend a hastily convened EU meeting to discuss Trump’s election. Instead he called on the rest of the EU to end its collective ‘whinge-o-rama’.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political stability, Post Truth Politics, Populism
  • Political Geography: Britain, America
  • Author: Dmitry Streltsov
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: International analytical center “Rethinking Russia” presents a commentary of Dmitry Streltsov, doctor of history, head of the Department of Oriental studies of the MGIMO University, on the results of Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan
  • Author: Robert Satloff, Sarah Feuer
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The countries of northwest Africa -- Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia -- have proven either more resilient or more adaptive than other Middle East states to the political upheavals that have engulfed the region over the last half-dozen years. To varying degrees, however, stability remains a major challenge for all these countries as they face transnational terrorism, spillover from the conflict in Libya, abrupt shifts in domestic political dynamics, potential flare-ups of regional conflicts, and unforeseen events that could ignite deep-seated resentment at a local mix of stagnant economies, endemic corruption, and profound disparities between wealth and poverty. In this Transition 2017 essay, Robert Satloff and Sarah Feuer warn against overlooking a corner of the Middle East that doesn't attract the same attention as areas facing more-acute conflict. Outlining America's key strategic interests in this region, they discuss specific ways the Trump administration can advance these interests in terms of both bilateral and regional relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs, International Development
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Northwest Africa
  • Author: David Makovsky, Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Like many of his predecessors, President Trump has come to office pledging to solve the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In this paper, two veteran U.S. peace negotiators point out the repeated failure of past efforts to reach "all-or-nothing" solutions to this conflict, urge the president not to seek a comprehensive settlement, and instead recommend an approach based on reaching an understanding with Israel on steps that could, preserve the potential for a two-state outcome in the future; blunt the delegitimization movement against Israel; and give the administration leverage to use with the Palestinians, other Arabs, and Europeans. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has faded in significance in the Middle East against the backdrop of the conflict in Syria, the rise of ISIS, and the regionwide clash of Sunni and Shiite powers. Both the likelihood for a return to the negotiating table and the prospects for a two-state solution are growing dim.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine
  • Author: James F. Jeffrey, Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Given the unprecedented turmoil and uncertainty afflicting the Middle East, the new administration will need to devote particular care and urgency to understanding the essence of America's interests in the region, and applying clear principles in pursuing them. This is the advice offered by two U.S. diplomats with a distinguished record of defending those interests under various administrations. As Trump and his team take office, they face a regional state system that is under assault by proxy wars that reflect geopolitical rivalries and conflicts over basic identity. Rarely has it been more important for a new administration to articulate clear goals and principles, and Ambassadors James Jeffrey and Dennis Ross outline both in this transition paper. With 30 percent of the world's hydrocarbons still flowing from the Middle East, safeguarding that supply remains a critical U.S. national security interest, along with preventing nuclear proliferation, countering terrorism, and preserving stability. In their view, the best way to pursue these interests is to emphasize a coherent set of guiding principles, namely:
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: If President Trump decides to honor his commitment to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he should move quickly to consult with Israel, assess and prepare responses for potential security challenges, and engage key regional and international partners in the context of a broader adjustment of U.S. policy, according to a new presidential transition paper by Washington Institute executive director Robert Satloff. "Past presidents -- both Democratic and Republican -- who made and then broke this promise were evidently convinced that the relocation of America's main diplomatic mission to Jerusalem would ignite such outrage and trigger such violence that the costs outweighed the benefits," he writes. "This analysis, however, takes ominous warnings by certain Middle East leaders at face value, builds on what is essentially a condescending view of Arabs and Muslims that assumes they will react mindlessly to incendiary calls to violence, and fails to acknowledge the potential impact of subtle, creative, and at times forceful American diplomacy."
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: David L. Goldwyn
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Oil, gas, and renewable energy markets will face high levels of uncertainty and potentially extreme volatility under a Trump administration in 2017. Some of these uncertainties flow from questions about the new administration’s yet-undefined policies on energy production, trade, and climate policy. Others flow from the basket of national security risks that a new US President was destined to inherit. Yet it is Mr. Trump’s signaling of major shifts in US foreign policy priorities that may have the greatest near-term impact on energy supply and demand. The impact of these uncertainties, following two years of reduced oil and gas investment and low energy prices, may inhibit investment and sow the seeds of a potential oil and gas price shock by 2020, if not sooner.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Post Truth Politics
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: David L. Goldwyn
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Oil, gas, and renewable energy markets will face high levels of uncertainty and potentially extreme volatility under a Trump administration in 2017. Some of these uncertainties flow from questions about the new administration’s yet-undefined policies on energy production, trade, and climate policy. Others flow from the basket of national security risks that a new US President was destined to inherit. Yet it is Mr. Trump’s signaling of major shifts in US foreign policy priorities that may have the greatest near-term impact on energy supply and demand. The impact of these uncertainties, following two years of reduced oil and gas investment and low energy prices, may inhibit investment and sow the seeds of a potential oil and gas price shock by 2020, if not sooner.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Post Truth Politics
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Bud Coote, Karl V. Hopkins
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This report is a collaboration between Dentons and the Atlantic Council that provides analysis on the array of risks and uncertainties faced by international energy firms investing in and operating energy projects worldwide. It focuses on lessons learned from a variety of experiences and offers risk mitigation options.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ian M. Ralby
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This report is the first comprehensive study of the theft of refined oil products around the globe. It provides insight into the modalities and trends in oil theft, the culprits responsible, the stakeholders affected by illicit activities, and recommendations that could change the dynamics. It is divided into three parts.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, Oil
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jean-Francois Seznec
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Saudi Arabia’s leadership recently introduced an ambitious plan called Vision 2030 to move the country away from oil and toward a more diversified, modern economy. Fortunately, the economy is already much more diversified than is often reported, a fact obscured by the very high price of oil from 2000 to 2014. Since the mid-1970s, the Kingdom has developed chemical, metal, and fertilizer industries that are among the most advanced in the world. Most of these industries have been built on the natural advantages of Saudi Arabia: low-cost energy, large mineral resources, access to plentiful capital, and proximity to the huge markets of Asia.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Oil, Natural Resources, Economic structure
  • Political Geography: Saudi Arabia